BEVERLY — Bar hopping down Western Avenue is practically a rite of passage for many South Side Irish.
The Young Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago is facilitating such a pilgrimage on Saturday with its Return to the South Side Pub Crawl. Buses are set to depart at 12:30 p.m. from Fado Irish Pub at 100 W. Grand Ave. in River North and Mystic Celt at 3443 N. Southport in Lakeview.
South Side members of the Irish club are asked to meet the group at 1:30 p.m. at Sean's Rhino Bar at 10330 S. Western Ave. in Beverly. From there, the pub crawl will make stops along Western Avenue at Dinger's Sports Bar, O'Rourke's Office, McNally's and Cullinan's Stadium Club.
Upward of 200 people are expected to attend the pub crawl, said Kelly Dougan, president of the Young Irish Fellowship Club. Tickets cost $20, which includes a T-shirt and charity donation.
"We are encouraging people to buy tickets in advance because we have sold out 95 percent of our events this year," Dougan said.
She said the Young Irish Fellowship Club is made up of roughly 300 members ages 21 to 35, but its reach is likely larger than that as the group's email list and social media followers number more than 5,000.
The club was founded in the 1980s and meets monthly at Old St. Patrick's Church in West Loop. After regularly coordinating a South Side pub crawl, the club took a two-year hiatus from hosting the event in 2012.
Chicago firefighters and paramedics have turned to the Ignite The Spirit Fund for help since 2003. The group reaches out to these public servants who have fallen ill or been injured in the line of duty.
The heavy concentration of firefighters living in the Beverly, Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood communities strongly influenced the organizers of the Return to the South Side Pub Crawl, Dougan said.
My Mary Cate was founded by the parents of Mary Catherine Lynch of Beverly. She was born on Dec. 8, 2011, with Apert Syndrome. This genetic condition causes mutation of the head and face.
"We are helping to pay for Mary Cate's surgeries and all of the travel for her surgeries," Dougan said.
She added that many people attending the pub crawl are transplanted South Siders. The event is sure to be a homecoming for these folks while introducing the neighborhood to others.
"People are every excited to go to the South Side, even in January," Dougan said.